Back in March, People StyleWatch editor Susan Kaufman presented the results of a study of 2,000 women ages 18 to 49, regarding how celebrity style influences their own dressing habits. Three-quarters of women admitted to getting ideas of how to dress from celebrities, while two-thirds said they get ideas of how to dress from celebrities over runway models. Three-quarters of the women also said they would spend more for something if they see a celebrity wearing that item. This is especially true for jeans, since expensive jeans (say, $250) are never going to be as expensive as designer handbags (say, $1,400). "They will pay more for premium denim if they see a celebrity wearing it," Kaufman said. But the female psyche's connection to denim goes deeper than that, it seems:
“Some 48 percent of women said they are more excited getting jeans on sale than having sex,” she said.The survey went on to uncover more about the style habits of the poll participants. 75% of women admitted they directly copy celebrity styles, while 67% said they get wardrobe inspiration from celebs over runway models. 75% also said they would be willing to pay more for an item if they catch a celebrity wearing it.
It's true that I was left agape over the fact that half of the women surveyed valued a sale price on jeans over an orgasm. As a self-declared cheapskate and thriftaholic, I've well aware of the euphoric high one can get when you uncover a great pair of jeans for substantially less than retail price. But I was more struck by the considerable influence celebrity culture has over personal style.
In a society that largely obsesses about entertainment and celebrity culture, celebrities can have a powerful impact on a person's life. From fashion trends to political views, the attractiveness of a celebrity's lifestyle can affect people's beliefs, interests and behaviors. Some historians credit the rise of mass celebrity culture in America to the early 20th century. Between 1900 and 1929, the entertainment industry in New York flourished through the emergence of different forms of entertainment, including opera, vaudeville, radio and film. As a result, many Americans became infatuated with celebrities and contributed to a new, consumer-based culture that continues today.
In addition, as the 20th century progressed, Americans placed less importance on the role of religion in their lives. The percentage of secular Americans grew by 110 percent between 1990 and 2000, while Christians only increased their ranks a measly 5 percent. Some historians believe that the worship of celebrity culture replaced the influence of religion, substituting wardrobe and wealth for religious relics. Neal Gabler, entertainment scholar, author, journalist and political commentator, writes in his book Life: The Movie, that American society sees celebrities as “icons on their way to apotheosis”, that we “seek . . . exegeses of their lives as if they are sacred texts” and revere “artifacts as if they were relics.” Britney’s chewing gum on Ebay, anyone? Furthermore, this obsession with celebrity culture often starts at an early age. Many children and teens are infatuated with young, pop-culture icons. They think of celebrities as role models and may choose to imitate them.
I find it fascinating that such a substantial percentage of women turn to celebrities to influence their personal sense of style, replacing it altogether with what the latest movie, pop or television star is wearing. It's not difficult to see evidence of celebrity influence on fashion trends of late. From the "Rachel" haircut of the nineties, to Rhianna's pointy structured shoulder pads, to Angelina Jolie's edgy glamour combining tattoos and couture, to Rachel Zoe's seventies-inspired flared jeans and oversized sunglasses, celebrities have been responsible for some of the biggest trends in the fashion world today.
You could argue that my outfit today clearly displays influence from a number of celebrities. Madonna's Like A Virgin phase popularized exposed underwear; the skinny cargo pants became last summer's blockbuster trend after Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, and Jennifer garner were spotted in them. Armloads of bracelets are a signature Rachel Zoe look. And both Alexa Chung and Blake Lively have been spotted in lace dresses and blouses this spring.
However, the combination of all of the above is uniquely my own. I don't rely much on celebrity style - I certainly can't see it replacing my own sartorial choices. But popular trends spread by celebrity culture are hard to ignore. Now I ask you - are you influenced by celebrity culture? Do you ever look towards celebrities for style inspiration? How much weight do you place on trends embraces by starlets and movie stars?
|Forever 21 lace top: Gap Outlet cargos; Forever 21 sports bra; Lucky Brand wedges; TIKKR watch; Charming Charlie bracelets; Forever 21 cross earring|